My analysis of the 2009-2010 GCSE results shows that poverty is still very strongly connected with low academic attainment. In fact, from the results I’ve analysed, poverty seems still to be the deciding factor in how children do at school. This research endorses a raft of research which shows the connection between poverty and low achievement at school is significant.
These results should have big policy implications. It’s clear that it’s only by eradicating child poverty that we will really solve the curse of low attainment amongst many of our pupils. This is an important to consider now because it’s becoming clear that the Coalition’s welfare cuts and spiralling unemployment will put many more children into the “poverty zone” and will thus increase low attainment.
It’s really time we widened the debate about education and started looking beyond the school gates. Michael Gove wants to pin all the blame for low attainment upon poor teaching, but this simply isn’t an argument which is sustained by a careful examination of the facts. It appears that, while there may be exceptions -- and there certainly are -- overall social deprivation triumphs over the best efforts of our teachers.
The issue of child poverty is the most pressing issue to solve if results are going to improve in our most deprived areas.
Unfortunately, copyright issues connected with the software programme I've used (SPSS) prevent me from publishing the relevant graphs.